Ruby Walsh has ridden more Cheltenham Festival winners than anyone else.
The 12-time champion jockey was successful at the famous meeting 59 times before retiring from the saddle in 2019.
He has since become a regular face as a pundit on TV through his work with RTE, ITV and Racing TV.
But Walsh is also a key member of Willie Mullins’ team and he’ll be hoping the Carlow trainer can add a number of winners to the 78 Festival successes he already has.
Ahead of this year’s meeting, Walsh has given us his A to Z guide for the 2022 Festival:
A – A is for Al Boum Photo, the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner who bids to emulate Kauto Star in regaining his title. I think it could happen.
B – B is for Billaway, who hopes to make it third time lucky in the St James’s Palace Foxhunters Chase. With cheekpieces this year, we’re hoping it makes a difference.
C – C is for Chacun Pour Soi, a horse that came up short last year and faces Shishkin this time around. A stiff test but no horse is a certainty.
D – D is for Dysart Dynamo. This horse has been flawless over hurdles and we’re hoping he can make it three on the trot.
E – E is for Elimay. She hit the crossbar last year in the Mrs Paddy Power Chase. But I think she can go one better next week.
F – F is for Facile Vega. The new kid on the block at Closutton. We’re hoping he can follow in his mother’s hoofprints.
G – G is for Galopin Des Champs, a banker for many at Cheltenham. He looks rock solid in the Turner’s Novice Chase.
H – H is for Honeysuckle, the Queen of Cheltenham. She’ll be very hard to beat in the Champion Hurdle.
I – I is for Icare Allen, one of three runners for Willie in the Triumph Hurdle and could run a big race at a big price.
J – J is for Jonbon, a full brother to Douvan, who hopes to emulate his older sibling in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
K – K is for Klassical Dream, my final ever Cheltenham Festival winner. He might be the one to beat in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle.
L – L is for Langer Dan, who was second in the Martin Pipe last year. He looks the home team’s best chance in the finale on Friday’s card.
M – M is for Mullins. Willie Mullins. And my best bet of the week for the leading trainer award.
N – N is for Nicky Henderson. If the UK want to get within reach of reclaiming the Prestbury Cup, this man will need to do well.
O – O is for Ontheropes. I rode him in a piece of work last week and he’s got an each-way chance in the National Hunt Chase.
P – P is for Paul Townend, who is the favourite to be leading jockey at the festival. Given his book of rides, I’m not surprised.
Q – Q is for Quilixos, last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner. He has an each-way chance in the Champion Hurdle.
R – R is for Rachael Blackmore, who will carry the hopes of the majority of punters next week.
S – S is for State Man. I’m a big fan of this horse. Wherever he runs, watch out.
T – T is for Tiger Roll, who bids to equal Quevega’s record of six wins at the festival. I wonder will he get a bar named after him too if he does?
U – U is for Ultima Handicap Chase – This is a race I managed to win once and I think this time around, Ben Dundee deserves a second look.
V – V is for Vauban, our big hope in the Triumph Hurdle. He’ll take plenty of beating.
W – W is for Winter Fog, one of the leading hopes in the Pertemps Hurdle. He should go close.
X – X is for Xenephon – He won the Coral Cup back in the day & it wasn’t a race that I had much luck in either. However, Saint Felicien might be one to go well here.
Y – Y is for You. If you’re not heading to the Cotswolds, hit Paddy Power’s Cheltenham Fan Zone in The Camden, Dublin. With Europe’s largest indoor 4k screen, it’s the best to be if you can’t be at the track.
Z – Z is for Zero. Like in 2002, the one certainty this week is that’s the amount of winners I’m going to ride at the festival this year!
- Ruby Walsh is a Paddy Power ambassador. Tickets for Paddy Power’s Cheltenham Fanzone, for March 17th and 18th at The Camden, Dublin 2 can be purchased for €20 per day via Ticketmaster.
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